CineSavant Column

Saturday January 11, 2020


CineSavant correspondent Gary Teetzel tells me that the word’s going around that the alternate ending for Saul Bass’s weird eco-apocalyptic science fiction thriller Phase IV may now be viewable, perhaps even remastered. I remember the Cinefamily theater sneaking a viewing Saul Bass’s long-lost alternate ending back in 2012. My 2015 review of an Olive Films disc lamented the fact that the alternate ending hadn’t been included, but there is word that the film is now being shown on Apple TV with it restored. The runtime listed is indeed 86 minutes and not 84, but nothing says ‘Director’s Cut’ or ballyhoos a restoration.

Meanwhile, Carlotta Films in France has listed a new Blu-ray as coming out in April. One website claimed it was an 87 minute version — which would suggest it has the lost alternate ending — but Amazon lists the theatrical 84-minute runtime; it does, however list the original ending as an extra. It also has a documentary, and a limited edition release also includes a 200-page book called Phase IV: Eclipse of Humanity by Frank Lafond.

If Olive Films isn’t out of business, dare we hope for a Signature Edition here in the States?

Meanwhile, correspondent David Arscot sends along a web article with more discussion: An Original Ending for Phase IV?  On it you’ll find scans of both endings, too.

Newly posted on YouTube is a Reconstituted Trailer for How the West Was Won — a longform original trailer for the 1962 movie has been overlaid with the ‘Smilebox’ processed video from Warners’ 2008 Blu-Ray, to good effect. I think I see only one shot that looks a little ragged, so perhaps it wasn’t used in the feature, and therefore couldn’t be matched-in. Very high quality images, no argument there.

Most of Kino’s January titles have arrived in-house, but the list of upcoming Blu-rays for February just hit. The titles that catch my eye include Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues, Summer of Sam, Jungle Fever, Crooklyn and Clockers; the camp jaw-dropper The Oscar, H.G. Clouzot’s Quai de Orfèvres, Allan Arkush’s Heartbeeps, Joseph Losey’s The Criminal (The Concrete Jungle) and Accident, Mike Nichols’ The Day of the Dolphin, Claude Chabrol’s The Third Lover & Line of Demarcation, Peter Hall’s Perfect Friday, René Clément’s The Deadly Trap and the Jules Verne / Kirk Douglas pirate film The Light at the Edge of the World.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson